|Lichen on trees opposite.|
Happy March! We're just 20 days away from spring! Ah, the warmer weather will soon be with us. It started off sunny and cold (about 3 or 4 degrees), now it's clouded over but it's up to 8 °C. The garden is slowly beginning to wake up:
|Spiraea buds (taken a week ago).|
|Afraid I can't remember the name of this shrub, but as you can see it has new buds too!|
|Daffodils: left, taken a week ago, right taken this morning.|
|Collared doves that spent an entire morning chasing each other (taken a few days ago).|
And March has brought some good news: the Protection Zone Order which has kept the chickens locked up since the beginning of December has been lifted in our area with "a more targeted approach" instead: there are still areas deemed 'high risk', and those areas have to continue to keep their chickens away from wild birds. We fall about 30 or so miles outside a high risk zone so we're going to let them out but continue to feed them indoors and keep up the biosecurity measures. Aside from that all chickens are well!
|Agnes (left) and Meg (right).|
|Florence (with Agnes behind, left) and Ruby (with Agnes in front, right).|
This month is set to be a busy one, so any reading plans I have is highly tentative! This month I'll be planting potatoes (Charlottes: 2nd earlies, and Pink Fir Apples: main), onions (turbo), and garlic, and do this I'll have to clear the vegetable patch of weeds. We're also in the middle of spring cleaning and decorating: I've finished the bedroom (painted pale blue now and with two new bookcases: this explains my brief absence last week), and this month we're hoping to do the bedroom, fix a fence, and hopefully another room. Nevertheless, I still have some plans aside from DIY!
The first thing I want to say I've had to reconsider two of my 2017 Challenges. Firstly, I've decided to leave the Lord of the Rings read-along for now, I'm not in a Tolkien frame of mind at present. Also, regarding the Ancient Greek and Roman Challenge, I've decided first to leave it 'til summer to focus on it, and secondly be a bit more random at picking my titles as opposed to spending the year focusing on the 4th Century B.C. I find Plato and Aristotle incredibly difficult, so I'd like to mix that up a little with other works. Also I really fancy reading St. Augustine very soon and that's right at the end of the challenge! What I want to do at the moment is focus on my Classic Club list. I find I now have 33 novels and 36 plays left (I tend to mark titles off when I've blogged about them as opposed to just read them, which is why those numbers don't look as though they add up) and as I, on the whole, tend to read two novels and two plays a week I may finish it this summer (my list is dominated by short works such as plays, so it's not quite as daunting as it looks). That said, there's still some pretty hefty titles left so we'll see. I'd like to finish it at some point in the summer or early autumn.
Nevertheless there is one final challenge I've joined (I can't help myself!). It's Jean's Reading All Around the World and though I won't be focusing on this either til probably the autumn I will be able to join in a little. My reading, you may have noticed, is largely English literature with a smidgen of Western Europe so I thought this would be a good idea to extend my boundaries. Because I am very limited in what I read I can see this challenge taking many many years to finish, particularly as I'd prefer a casual approach. For now I'd like to read literature from 50 different countries, and I imagine that alone will take several years. Jean said, "You do not have to plan your list ahead of time; I would advise you not to". I agree, but: I did find some titles I am interested in or plan on reading anyway (though I may well not: I've no intention of sticking to this list necessarily) and, in case this helps anyone else who is participating, I'll share the list:
- Algeria: The Golden Ass by Apuleius, or St. Augustine of Hippo
- America: East of Eden John Steinbeck
- Antarctica (not a country, I know!): The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard
- Austria: The Confusions of Young Törless by Robert Musil
- China: Six Yuan Plays edited by Liu Jung-en
- Czech Republic: The Cowards by Josef Škvorecký
- Denmark: Hans Christian Andersen
- Dominica: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
- Egypt: Story of Sinuhe
- Finland: The Kalevala by Elias Lönnrot
- Georgia: The Knight in the Panther's Skin
- Iceland: Orkneyinga Saga
- India: Rabindranath Tagore
- Iran: Vis and Ramin by Fakhruddin As'ad Gurgani
- Iraq: Epic of Gilgamesh
- Italy: Dante
- Japan: Narrow Road by Basho
- Libya: Callimachus
- Nigeria: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
- Northern Ireland: The Beaux Stratagem by George Farquhar
- North Korea: Cho Ki-chon
- Norway: Henrik Ibsen
- Palestine: The Secret History by Procopius
- Portugal: The Lusiads by Luis Vaz de Camões
- Scotland: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Sparks or Self-Help by Samuel Smiles
- Spain: Miau by Benito Pérez Galdós
- Sweden: Strindberg
- Swiss: The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
- Syria: St. Matthew (Gospel)
- Turkey: Arrian by Lucian of Samosata
- Wales: The Welsh Fairy Book by William Jenkyn Thomas
Russia's not on the list because I have On the Eve to add later this week, and England's not on either because as I say I won't have a problem with English literature. As for the rest: I don't think I'll struggle with Western Europe, nor am I too daunted by the Middle East - when I've read English Medieval works many of them have been inspired by Middle Eastern works so we have much in common, and more shared stories than we perhaps realise. The rest, however, will be a great challenge indeed I'm afraid! Hopefully though I can get past my ignorance. For now, my progress page is here.
And that's the end of my pontifications on long-term challenges! As for March, I'm being fairly tentative: I started reading The Cowards, which I'm enjoying, and I'd also like to revisit a few Shakespeares and Thérèse Raquin, as well as make a start on Le Morte D'Arthur. Can't be too firm, though - there's much to do this month!
Happy March, everyone! And to finish, the new bookcases complete with rainbows (the sun is out again!).
And a bonus rainbow!